Agenda and draft minutes

Council - Wednesday, 28th September, 2022 6.30 pm

Venue: Crematorium Meeting Room - North Devon Crematorium. View directions

Contact: Corporate and Community Services  01271 388253

Note: This meeting will be webcast on https://watch.obitus.com/. The username is nopa3321 and password is 309069. A recording will be available for 28 days following the meeting. There are limited spaces available for members of the public to attend in person, therefore if you would like to book a place, please contact Corporate and Community Services by 12noon on Monday 26 September 2022 by telephoning 01271 388253 or emailing member.services@northdevon.gov.uk. 

Items
No. Item

32.

Apologies for absence

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Campbell, Chesters, Davis, Davies, Fowler, Leaver, Lovering, Orange, Pearson, Phillips and Roome.

33.

To approve as a correct record the minutes of the meeting held on 20 July 2022 (attached) pdf icon PDF 266 KB

Minutes:

RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting held on 20 July 2022 (circulated previously) be approved as a correct record and signed by the Chair.

34.

Chair's announcements

Minutes:

(a)  Councillor Bushell

 

The Chair passed on Councillor Bushell’s grateful thanks to officers who have been supportive during his period of illness and welcomed him back.

 

(b)  Future High Street Fund Briefing

 

The Chair advised that following the conclusion of the Council meeting, that Members would receive a briefing on the Future High Street Fund.

35.

Business brought forward by or with the consent of the Chair

Minutes:

There was no business brought forward by or with the consent of the Chair.

36.

Replies to any questions submitted by the Public and/or to receive Petitions under Part 4, Council Procedures Rules, Paragraphs 8 and 9 of the Constitution

Minutes:

There were no questions submitted by the Public and/or petitions under Part 4, Council Procedure Rules, Paragraphs 8 and 9 of the Constitution.

37.

To consider motions of which notice has been submitted by Members in accordance with Part 4, Council Procedure Rules, Paragraph 11 of the Constitution

(a)  To consider the following notice of motion from Councillor Wilkinson

 

“Sky lanterns might look pretty but they are a serious danger to animals and the countryside.

Essentially a small hot air balloon made of paper, with an opening at the bottom where a candle is suspended, sky lanterns, can float for miles before they fall to the ground.

Every year up to 200,000 sky lanterns are released in the UK. These “floating flames” are highly dangerous.

They can:

  • Start wildfires
  • Kill animals
  • Destroy food growing in fields
  • Set homes and buildings alight

And the litter they leave in their wake is a blight on our beautiful countryside.

In 2019, the NFU launched a campaign to urge people to email their council to ban sky lanterns on land it owns. To date 187 councils out of 333 have banned them in England and Wales.

 

As a Council we, therefore, agree to

1.    Applaud the work that the NFU, National Fire Chiefs Council, Keep Britain Tidy and the RSPCA have done to bring to our attention the impact sky lanterns can have.

2.    Ban the use of sky lanterns on property owned by North Devon Council.

3.    Inform the general public of the dangers associated with sky lanterns.”

 

(b)  To consider the following notice of motion from Councillor Crabb

 

“That this Council writes to South West Water to ensure they prioritise urgent action and investment to prevent avoidable discharges in North Devon that relies heavily on tourism. That we, North Devon Council recognise that as part of the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, we have a responsibility to work positively and proactively with South West Water, the Environment Agency and other partners, to provide cleaner and healthier waters for our residents and visitors.”

Minutes:

(a)  To consider the following notice of motion from Councillor Wilkinson

 

Councillor Wilkinson presented his notice of motion to Council.

 

It was moved by Councillor Wilkinson and seconded by Councillor Walker “that the notice of motion be adopted.”

 

RESOLVED that as a Council we, therefore, agree to:

 

(i)             Applaud the work that the NFU, National Fire Chiefs Council, Keep Britain Tidy and the RSPCA have done to bring to our attention the impact sky lanterns can have;

 

(ii)            Ban the use of sky lanterns on property owned by North Devon Council; and

 

(iii)           Inform the general public of the dangers associated with sky lanterns.

 

(b)  To consider the following notice of motion from Councillor Crabb

 

Councillor Crabb presented his notice of motion to Council.

 

It was moved by Councillor Crabb and seconded by Councillor Yabsley “that the notice of motion be adopted.”

 

In response to a question, Councillor Saxby in her capacity as MP for North Devon, advised Council that the Government had already passed legislation in relation to discharges and that she received daily reports from South West Water.

 

RESOLVED that:

 

(i)             this Council writes to South West Water to ensure they prioritise urgent action and investment to prevent avoidable discharges in North Devon that relies heavily on tourism;

 

(ii)            North Devon Council recognise that as part of the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, we have a responsibility to work positively and proactively with South West Water, the Environment Agency and other partners, to provide cleaner and healthier waters for our residents and visitors.

38.

Declarations of Interest

(NB. Members only need to re-declare any interests previously declared at Committee and Sub-Committee meetings if the item is discussed at Council).

 

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest received.

39.

Chair's replies to any questions to Council by Members submitted under Part 4, Council Procedures Rules, Paragraph 10 of the Constitution

Minutes:

There were no questions received by Members submitted under Part 4, Council Procedure Rules, Paragraph 10 of the Constitution.

40.

Anti-Fraud and Corruption

Presentation by Ken Johnson, Counter Fraud Services Manager, Devon Audit Partnership

Minutes:

The Chair advised that the presentation by Ken Johnson, Counter Fraud Services Manager, Devon Audit Partnership on Anti-Fraud and Corruption would be deferred until the November Council meeting as Ken Johnson was unwell.

41.

Report of the Leader of the Council pdf icon PDF 276 KB

Report by Leader of the Council (attached).

Minutes:

Council considered and noted a report by the Leader of the Council (circulated previously) regarding work that had been undertaken since the last Council meeting. Councillor Worden advised that following the Government’s mini budget statement, that there was real uncertainty in relation to borrowing and the impact that this could have on the delivery of future projects, future of the Levelling Up Fund and the announcement of introduction of Investment Zones.

 

 

42.

Questions by Members

Questions to the Leader or the Chair of a Committee submitted under Part 4, Council Procedure Rules, paragraph 10.4 of the Constitution.

Minutes:

There were no questions submitted to the Leader or the Chair of a Committee under Part 4, Council Procedure Rules, paragraph 10.4 of the Constitution.

43.

Statement of Accounts 2021/22

43a

Report by Chief Financial Officer (attached) pdf icon PDF 295 KB

Chair of the Governance Committee to report the recommendations of the Governance Committee held on 26 September 2022 (to follow).

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Council considered a report by the Chief Financial Officer (circulated previously) regarding the Statement of Accounts for 2021/22.

 

The Director of Resources and Deputy Chief Executive advised that:

 

o   The draft Statement of Accounts for year ended 31 March 2022 had been signed by the Chief Financial Officer on 5 July 2022.

o   Previously the final date for the audited accounts to be published was 31 July (used to be 30 September).  This year the target date had been extended to 30 November 2022.

o   External Audit of Accounts – the audit of financial statements had taken place through July/August 2022 and was being concluded through September. The Audit Findings Report was presented to the Governance Committee on 26 September 2022 and reported an Unqualified Opinion on Financial Statements.  Two recommendations following Key Findings had been accepted by management and responses built into the Action Plan.  The accounts were required to be formally signed off at Full Council on 28 September 2022.

o   Narrative report (pages 26 to 36) set out the challenges the Council face, how the Council aim to meet those challenges (MTFP) and reviews the last financial year 2021-22.

o   The Council had originally budgeted to spend £13.639m in 2021-22. As at 31 December 2021, the Council was forecasting a net surplus of £89,000 against the budget.

o   The last quarter of the financial year had seen some favourable variances since the last reported position; most notably additional recycling sales income and reduced spend in the Waste and Recycling service, together with general employee vacancy savings.

o   It was pleasing to report that the final out turn position was a budget surplus of (£604,000) against original budget, which was an overall movement of (£515,000) from the last forecast at quarter 3.  The table on pages 30 and 31 detailed the main variances.

o   The options for balances (£604k) surplus included:

·       £400,000 Repairs Fund reserve – to fund capital investment business cases

·       £100,000 Local Plan reserve – to increase fund available to over the cost of the Local review

·       £104,000 Budget Management reserve – increase the fund available to help mitigate inflationary pressures in 2022-23 financial year

·       Members approved in June 2021 to proceed with the acquisition of Green Lanes Shopping Centre; for which the Council completed the purchase in November 2021.  The purchase of Green Lanes Shopping Centre was a once in a lifetime opportunity to acquire this strategic asset and complement other significant regeneration improvements being delivered within the Barnstaple town centre through the Future High Streets project.  The financial modelling demonstrated that revenue income generated from the centre would cover both the repayment of the loan and asset management costs and would return a contribution to the Council which could be used towards mitigating future risks on income volatility, investment back into the centre and the overarching council budget.

·       The financial outturn from the Centre produced a net return (income less costs) for the 2021/22 year of (£243,600) due to minimal borrowing  ...  view the full minutes text for item 43a

43b

Annual Governance Statement 2021/22 (attached) pdf icon PDF 372 KB

To consider the recommendation of the Governance Committee held on 26 September 2022 (to follow).

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Council considered a report by the Head of Governance (circulated previously) regarding the Annual Governance Statement 2021/22.

 

The Head of Governance advised the following:

 

·       In conjunction with Internal and External Audit, compliance with the Framework in meeting the principles, where governance can be seen in action, and the assurance received and issued identified, had been assessed in detail and were included in full in Appendix A.

·       During the year, Internal Audit undertook 18 audits with the reports then sent to Senior Management Team for review. Their overall opinion was ‘reasonable assurance’ that a generally sound system of governance, risk management and control was in place.

·       Areas that had been identified for improvement were detailed within the report.

 

Councillor Walker reported the recommendations of the Governance Committee held on 26 September 2022 (circulated previously).

 

It was moved by Councillor Walker and seconded by Councillor Tucker “that the Annual Governance Statement 2021/22 be approved”.

 

RESOLVED that the Annual Governance Statement 2021/22 be approved.

43c

Letter of Representation on behalf of the Council (attached) pdf icon PDF 2 MB

It is RECOMMENDED “that the letter of representation on behalf of the Council be approved and signed by the Chief Financial Officer”. To consider the recommendation of the Governance Committee held on 26 September 2022 (to follow).

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Council considered the Annual Governance Statement (AGS) for 2021-22 (circulated previously).

 

The Director of Resources and Deputy Chief Executive explained that the Letter of Representation formally outlined to the External Auditors, the governance arrangements in place and the Authority’s responsibilities on the financial statements presented. The Letter was required as part of the final process for the approval of the Statement of Accounts for 2021/22.

 

Councillor Walker reported the recommendations of the Governance Committee held on 26 September 2022 (circulated previously).

 

It was moved by Councillor Walker and seconded by Councillor Lofthouse “that the Letter of Representation be approved and signed by the Chief Financial Officer”.

 

RESOLVED that the Letter of Representation be approved and signed by the Chief Financial Officer.

44.

Performance and Financial Management Quarter 1 of 2022-23 pdf icon PDF 454 KB

Report by Director of Resources and Deputy Chief Executive (attached).

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Council considered the Performance and Financial Management report for Quarter 1 of 2022/23 to the Strategy and Resources Committee on 5 September 2022 (circulated previously).

44a

Report of the Policy Development Committee pdf icon PDF 318 KB

To receive the report of the Policy Development Committee held on 8 September 2022 (to follow)

Minutes:

Councillor D. Spear, Chair of the Policy Development Committee presented the Committee’s report on the Performance and Financial Management for Quarter 1 of 2022/23 to the Policy Development Committee on 8 September 2022 (circulated previously).

 

In response to a question, the Director of Resources and Deputy Chief Executive advised that the breakdown in car park tickets had been included within the Key Performance Indicators table.  The variance on the car parks income budget was included on page 181 which was £49k down on the forecast budgeted income.  Car park income had recovered considerably since the Covid pandemic and had been offset by the other positive budget variances within the report.  A breakdown of income for each car park could be provided and circulated to all Members.

44b

Report of meeting of the Strategy and Resources Committee pdf icon PDF 189 KB

To receive the report of the report of the meeting of the Strategy and Resources Committee held on 5 September 2022 (to follow).

Minutes:

Councillor Worden, Chair of the Strategy and Resources Committee reported the recommendations of the Strategy and Resources Committee on the Performance and Financial Management for Quarter 1 of 2022/23 (circulated previously).

 

It was moved by Councillor Worden and seconded by Councillor Walker “that minute 47 (f) of the report of the Strategy and Resources Committee held on 5 September 2022 regarding the Performance and Financial Management for Quarter 1 of 2022/23 be adopted”.

 

Councillor Worden echoed the comments of Councillor Walker and thanked the Director of Resources and Deputy Chief Executive and his team for their work.

 

RESOLVED that minute 47 (f) of the report of the Strategy and Resources Committee held on 5 September 2022 regarding the Performance and Financial Management for Quarter 1 of 2022/23 be adopted.

45.

Report of Lead Member for Climate Change

Lead Member for Climate Change to report.

Minutes:

The Chair requested that in future the Lead Member for Climate Change provide written reports to Council.

 

The Lead Member for Climate Change provided an update following the meeting of the Climate Action Team held last night where only three Members had been in attendance. The Team would be considering its terms of reference and frequency of meetings.  It was pleasing that Officers were working to improve the situation for climate and the environment and to move the Council forward.

 

Council noted the verbal report.

46.

Outside Body appointment - Devon Rail Forum

To consider the appointment of 1 Member to the Devon Rail Forum for the life of Council following the resignation of Councillor York from the Forum.

Minutes:

Councillor Worden requested clarification on the frequency of meetings of the Devon Rail Forum.

 

Councillor Mack, as the Council’s former appointed representative, confirmed that the Forum met three times per year.

 

It was moved by Councillor Worden and seconded by Councillor Bushell “that Councillor Knight be appointed to the Devon Rail Forum for the life of Council following the resignation of Councillor York from the Forum.”

 

RESOLVED that Councillor Knight be appointed to the Devon Rail Forum for the life of Council following the resignation of Councillor York from the Forum.

47.

Minutes of Committees

Council is recommended to note the schedule of Committee minutes and approve recommendations as listed below:

 

47a

Building Control Joint Committee pdf icon PDF 214 KB

(i)             7 July 2022

Minutes:

RESOLVED that the following minutes of the Building Control Joint Committee (circulated previously) be noted and adopted as follows:

 

(i)             7 July 2022

 

In response to a question, the Director of Resources and Deputy Chief Executive advised that a meeting had been arranged with officers from Mid Devon District Council to understand the implications of setting up a company responsible for the building control function.  It was anticipated that a report would be produced within the next month setting out the next steps.  Discussions had already taken place regarding the recruitment of agency staff on a short term basis.

47b

Governance Committee pdf icon PDF 289 KB

(i)             26 September 2022 (to follow)

Minutes:

RESOLVED that the following minutes of the Governance Committee (circulated previously) be noted and adopted as follows:

 

(i)             26 September 2022

 

47c

Harbour Board pdf icon PDF 243 KB

(i)             9 August 2022

Minutes:

RESOLVED that the following minutes of the Harbour Board (circulated previously) be noted and adopted as follows:

 

(i)             9 August 2022

 

47d

Joint Planning Policy Committee pdf icon PDF 231 KB

(i)             15 July 2022

Minutes:

RESOLVED that the following minutes of the Joint Planning Policy Committee (circulated previously) be noted and adopted as follows:

 

(i)             15 July 2022

47e

Planning Committee pdf icon PDF 213 KB

(i)             13 July 2022

(ii)            10 August 2022

(iii)          31 August 2022

Additional documents:

Minutes:

RESOLVED that the following minutes of the Planning Committee (circulated previously) be noted and adopted as follows:

 

(i)             13 July 2022

(ii)            10 August 2022

(iii)           31 August 2022

 

 

47f

Policy Development Committee pdf icon PDF 362 KB

(i)             8 September 2022 (to follow)

Minutes:

RESOLVED that the following minutes of the Policy Development Committee (circulated previously) be noted and adopted as follows:

 

(i)             8 September 2022

 

 

47g

Strategy and Resources Committee pdf icon PDF 90 KB

(i)             5 September 2022 (to follow)

a.    Minute 55 (h): Approval and Release of Section 106 Public Open Space Funds – Barnstaple, Landkey and Tawstock

Additional documents:

Minutes:

RESOLVED that the following minutes of the Strategy and Resources Committee (circulated previously) be noted and adopted as follows:

 

(i)             5 September 2022

(A) Minute 55 (h): Approval and Release of Section 106 Public Open Space Funds – Barnstaple, Landkey and Tawstock